Sheffield businesswoman Marisa Thompson is gearing up for a summer trip to idyllic Paris.
But the mother-of-two won’t be jetting into the city of love, rested and refreshed from a comfy flight. Instead she’ll be biking it all the way from her home in Ecclesall right to the base of the Eiffel Tower.
The 39-year-old will be getting into the saddle for a charity trek next month, which will see her tackle the whopping 420 kilometer journey in just four days.
And Marisa is hoping the old adage ‘it’s just like riding a bike’ rings true, as she reveals she hasn’t been on a bike since she was a child.
“The last bike I rode was a BMX when I was a child,” she laughed.
“I had to buy myself a bike and learn how to ride all over again. I was pretty wobbly for a while but got the hang of it eventually. I’ve now got the stamina to do a 40-mile ride. On the four-day event we will be doing 70 miles a day so I still have more training to do.”
Marisa embarks on the gruelling challenge on July 22 to raise funds for Sheffield Children’s Hospital, where her son Henry, aged 10, receives allergy treatments.
Her coach is partner Mark Rowding, who is also making the charity trip. A keen cyclist, a few years ago he completed the 140-mile coast to coast ride in aid of Bluebell Wood Hospice. He and Marisa have been clocking up the miles in the Derbyshire Peak District for the last few months in preparation for their mammoth trek.
She said: “Mark has been very patient and supportive, but it has been much harder than I imagined. I’m still scared of going too fast downhill, but I’ve definitely discovered a sport I love, which takes me through beautiful countryside and keeps me fit. I’m hoping to continue cycling, and raise plenty for the Children’s Hospital, which is a feather in this city’s cap. My son has a fish allergy and the staff have been fantastic on the numerous times I’ve had to rush him in for treatment.”